8 Essential Items to Pack for a Long Layover

Want to know how to survive a long layover? Here is what you need to pack.

Quick Summary: The 8 essential things you need to pack to help survive a long layover

  1. Portable charger

  2. A new book or movie

  3. Comfortable clothes

  4. Earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones

  5. A large scarf

  6. Reusable water bottle

  7. Snacks

  8. Sanctifly

We’ve all been there. Another business trip and another long layover. Nobody enjoys the prospect of being stuck at the airport. Even now, with some airports truly bringing their A-game when it comes to amenities, viewing art installations and sitting in massage chairs can only keep you occupied for so long. The fact is airports get boring and long layovers are something business travelers must endure. But with a little pre planning you can avoid the boredom and turn your layover into something to look forward to. It’s all about changing our mindsets and the way we few airport downtime. By removing the negative connotations and taking the time to plan ahead, we can turn airport layovers into less of a chore and more of a benefit. Because when’s the last time you got 4 hours to yourself to read and relax? That’s exactly what a layover can be and if you keep these 8 items in you carry on you will easily survive your next layover.

8 things you should always pack for a long layover


Portable charger

For business travelers especially, keeping devices charged so that you are contactable is so important. Just because you are stuck at the airport doesn’t mean that email doesn’t need to be sent or that client can wait for an answer. We still need to be productive with our time and making the most of that airport downtime to catch up on work can be a great way to reduce stress. Who wants to face a full inbox when they arrive home after a long business trip? That seat near an outlet is often prime real estate, especially in airports with frequent layovers, and not always easy to get. We always pack a portable charger in our carry on to avoid the outlet search and ensure our devices always have charge.


A new book or movie

Your layover doesn’t have to be all about work, and for those of us staring down a long layover it’s not feasible or healthy to work through it. And let’s face it, you are going to get bored. Entertainment is incredibly important to stave off that inevitable boredom and avoid filling your time with unhealthy activities such as drinking alcohol and eating bad food. We always save a new book or movie we’ve been dying to see for long layovers. Looking forward to something like a good movie always helps us to survive a long layover.


Comfortable clothes

Layovers are going to be uncomfortable, that’s a given. The chairs are hard, the place is noisy and you are probably tired and a little irritable. So why not take control of your comfort wherever you can? Who wants to spend twelve hours sitting around in a suit? Packing comfortable clothes and shoes to fly in or at least to change into during a layover can have a huge impact. If you have to go straight to a meeting after your flight take 5 extra minutes either just before you board or after you land to change. 5 minutes is worth it to be comfortable during a long layover.


Ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones– drown out the noise of the airports

Airports are noisy, chaotic places. There is no escaping the noise of a busy terminal (unless you decide to go to a lounge, but even those can be full and noisy sometimes) and long layovers can be torture if there is no chance to get a little peace and quiet. We always pack ear plugs, or even better, noise cancelling headphones because they have two uses, to help drown out the din of the airport and watch that movie we were saving. Take some time to pop in your ear plugs, close your eyes and do some breathing exercises on your next layover, it’s a go to stress relieving activities on all our business trips.


A large scarf – to use as a pillow or a blanket

An easy addition to your packing list (you don’t even have to pack it! Just throw it around your neck as you are heading out of the door), a large scarf is essential for surviving a long layover. Travel pillow are ok, but not great especially if you are facing down a long layover. They are bulky and hard to pack, harder to clean and we’ve lost more than we can count at airports because we simply forget to pick them up when rushing to the gate. A large scarf can double as a pillow for taking a nap either during your layover or on the plane and as a blanket for when it gets cold. Packing light is a necessity for frequent travel and so anything that can have a double use is a win.


Reusable water bottle

Staying hydrated is so important while traveling and as more and more airports make moves towards sustainability single use plastic water bottles will become harder and harder to find. Plus, who wants to waste money buying countless water bottles when there is a refillable water station available to use for free? Pack a reusable water bottle next time you travel to not only save money and the planet but also encourage yourself to hydrate throughout your trip.



We are huge advocates for packing your own snacks before heading to the airport. Being in control of your diet is a great way to maintain a healthy routine even when on the road. Check out this blog post on the top hydrating and filling snacks that are perfect for traveling.



Ok so we may be a little bit biased here but our number 1 survival tool for any long layover is always Sanctifly. Sanctifly provides you with healthy options in and around airports and as a member, you can access Sanctifly’s exclusive list of partner hotels and lounges. That means you can go for a swim or a workout during your layover without having to book a room! Sitting around waiting for the time to pass until your flight is not a valuable way to spend your time. Rethink the way you view your airport downtime. You can find out more about Sanctifly here.

Add these 8 items to your packing list next time you are facing down a long layover. Frequent travel doesn’t have to be a chore if we take the time and put in the effort to take care of our physical and mental health. As more and more airports and airlines recognize that wellness is important for their customers let’s not forget that we can take personal steps towards healthier travel too.